R.B. Kitaj: First Series – Some Poets January 6, 2015 – Posted in: Art, Books and Art, Content, Painting – Tags: , , ,

Charles Olson 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Charles Olson

R.B. Kitaj was one of the most significant painters of the post-war period. His collage-like figurative paintings were a major influence on the British Pop Art scene. Lucky for us much of his work also has literary underpinnings. 

Educated in the U.S. Kitaj spent most of his adult life in London. He returned to the US in 1967 to teach at the University of California Berkeley and then the University of California Los Angeles before returning to London in 1972.

 It was during his stint on the West Coast that Kitaj undertook, First Series – Some Poets, a series of portraits of mostly West Coast poets completed in the years 1966-1970.

Chris Pater, a printer who worked closely with Kitaj, donated a run of screen-prints of the portraits to the Tate in 1975. It is from there that theses images are reproduced.

Kenneth Rexroth 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Kenneth Rexroth

Deerskin (John Wieners) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Deerskin (John Wieners)

Star Betelgeuse (Robert Duncan) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Star Betelgeuse (Robert Duncan)

Fifties Grand Swank (Morton Feldman) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Fifties Grand Swank (Morton Feldman)

For Love (Robert Creeley) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007For Love (Robert Creeley)

Hail Thee Who Play (Michael McClure) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Hail Thee Who Play (Michael McClure)

Ed Dorn 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Ed Dorn

Revolt on the Clyde (Hugh McDiarmid) 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007Revolt on the Clyde (Hugh McDiarmid)

W.H. Auden 1966-70 by R.B. Kitaj 1932-2007W.H. Auden

It was also during these years that Kitaj produced In Our Time, a selection of 50 screenprints based on enlarged photographs of the bindings or jackets of books in his personal library. We’ll have to visit that gem at a later time.

h/t Don Share

Books by poets featured in Kitaj’s portraits poets currently in stock

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